Saturday 4th 20.05 – 20.50 & 5th August, 17.05 – 17.50

Elvis Herod & the Gang of Rogues



One day in the mid 1940s in Fruita, Colorado, a poultry farmer was flummoxed by the continued survival of a decapitated chicken. Over the next 18 months Mike the Headless Chicken became a celebrity, touring the land as a wonder of nature, until an inglorious end in an hotel room (which can hardly be called untimely, since his head had died a year and a half earlier). This new Kentucky Fried Live Action Dada Cartoon opera by Elvis Herod, presented with The Gang of Rogues (returning to the festival after last year’s controversial “The Third Policeman”), is a poultry-indigestion nightmare in garish technicolor.





Elvis Herod brings his show to Tête à Tête after reading excessively about the true story of Mike, which inspired him to tell the tale.After performing at last year’s festival, Herod had a conversation with Bill Bankes-Jones who told Elvis that his singing voice was that of an angel. Elvis then knew that he had to show the world his incomparable, gargantuan talents… ever heard a neck sing before?




Mike The Headless Chicken is the true story of a farmer in 1940s Colorado, who was flummoxed by the continued survival of a decapitated chicken [later to become known as Mike]. Over the next 18 months Mike the Headless Chicken became a celebrity, touring the land as a wonder of nature.. During the course of Mike’s life, the farmer [Lloyd Olsen] and his wife [Clara] looked after the chicken, feeding him with an eye dropper, which was used to squirt water and seed into Mike’s neck. This device was also utilised to clear the airway of the chicken whenever he choked or became congested. After a tour of the United States Mike was worth $10,000 and gained fame from various fairs and carnivals where people would pay 20 cents to see Mike [The Wonder Chicken]. Mike even had an agent [Hope Wade], who helped Lloyd and Clara make their money.


Finally during a visit to Phoenix, Lloyd and Clara made the mistake of misplacing the eye dropper, and Mike, in a true rock and roll style, choked to death in a motel room.


Music, Words & Horrible Noises: Elvis Herod

Consultant : Ergo Phizmiz

Projection editing: Elvis Herod and Ric Marriott

Costume/Props: Carrie Haritou and Martha Moopette

Additional material: Oblivian Substanshall

Director: Elvis Herod


Mike: Oblivian Substanshall

Lloyd Olsen: Phil Green

Clara Olsen: Martha Moopette

Hope Wade: Ergo Phizmiz

Mother-in-Law / Helen the Hooker: Vulnavia Vanity

Chicks: Talulah Lotus and Autumn Poppy

Voice of Mike /God / Colonel Sanders: Elvis Herod




Elvis Herod is a writer, composer, actor and comedian working across theatre, experimental opera, short-films, radio and experimental music. Projects include the critically acclaimed plays “It’s News 2 Me”, “Dead For a Living” and “The Dead Dude Routine”, operas “The Mourning Show”, “The Third Policeman” and a wide range of educational work and stand-up comedy performances.


Phil Green is an actor and comedian, working with comedy troupe Smugly Beige. He was destined to be an opera star when the bloke who was originally playing his part in Mike The Headless Chicken dropped out and he had to step in at the last minute. He’s reliable though isn’t he?


Martha Moopette is a designer, ceramicist, sculptor and video artist whose work has been disseminated internationally. Her work combines craftsmanship with imaginative flair and a sense of aesthetics that sees equal beauty in flowers and dead animals.


Ergo Phizmiz has created art unstoppably since 1990. Since that time he has created in excess of 300 hours of work for radio, film, stage, installations, television, and albums. His work has been performed all over Europe and broadcast internationally to widespread critical acclaim, including winning awards for his radio-art. He is also a pervert.


Vulnavia Vanity has recently finished studying musical Theatre, but revels in exploring the arts in every direction. Performer, writer, poet, musician, baker, aesthetic goddess, OCD freak, daydreamer, lover, amigo, trashionista, charity shop whore, dustbin bitch, midnight florist, graffiti artist, doll doctor & collector, lover of oddities & imperfections.


Oblivian Substanshall is a failed amateur entertainer with an obsession for the absurd. Born in a shed in May 1961, he has spent much of his life doing very little, apart from wanting to be a successful song and dance man. He has recently been diagnosed with having dangerously high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stage 2 diabetes.